Vlogmas Day 2: the Grumpy Witch Tag

I’m convinced I have the worst YouTube thumbnail photos ever!

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A shop-related ramble and other news

First and most importantly: I have added a SECOND automatic discount, where if you place an order of $20 or more you get 20% off. (The original discount of 30% off $45 or more is also still active.) Both discounts expire on December 1st, and no coupon codes are needed!

Also…

Year Ahead 2018 Readings are still available here (via Paypal) and are now only $40 each! (This is as low as they are going to go, as they do take me some time to do.) If you’d like one, get your order in by December 15th; all readings will be delivered by December 31st.

And now for the ramble…

You may have noticed that about half my listings are missing, as of yesterday evening. This is because I ran out of candle wax and made the decision not to order more; the income generated by candle sales versus the expenses and time required to produce them is just not worth it. (Existing orders that have already been paid for are being filled, of course.)

This is part of a larger issue: Corbie’s death has massively shifted a lot of my priorities, and I need to start being realistic about my shop’s prospects. Just to be real for a minute, it’s begun to feel like I’m on a hamster wheel, constantly working, but never really making any actual profit on too many of the things I make. By way of example: I’ve gotten lots of candle orders this month, but the shop as a whole has only brought in just under $300, over $100 of which will be due back to Etsy for fees. The wax and oils to make the candles would have cost me well over $200 IF I had bought them and not been gifted them by a dear friend. This is obviously not sustainable. (And raising prices has proven not to be a workable solution.) Yes, the household needs for me to be able to contribute at least some income–but at this rate, simply not spending as much money on supplies in the first place seems like it would be just about as effective.

So, I’m going to start having to be ruthless with myself, and accept that maybe this is just never going to be a successful business again in the sense I want it to be. And while my ego, frankly, wants to reject that, as I said my priorities have shifted; I want to pay off bills, put savings aside, and be able to get a new dog more than I want to run a successful pagan shop. I still need to bring in some income, but there are other ways I can do it–for now, by conducting the virtual garage sales (more are coming this week!), by doing readings, and by working with what supplies I have without buying more. (If you missed them, my existing garage sale posts can be found here, here, and here.)

I AM going to be continuing with the teas, since the supply costs are fairly low and we can always drink what doesn’t sell, so it isn’t a total waste! I’m in the process of fine-tuning several Supernatural-inspired teas, so watch for those hopefully later in the week! I plan to try a few more loose incense blends, too.

Speaking of which, since the gifts packs are all gone, I have made the Returning Light Yule ritual oil and Smudging Nights Yule incense blend available as stand-alone items in the shop. Oh, and all ritual oils are now just $10 each; there will probably be a few more of those, too!

The bath shots are on probation, and may not be continued once I run out of supplies. They were sort of an experiment, anyway. In their place, I am toying with offering some of my handspun yarn, and whatever else I think of that can be made without pouring a lot of money into the shop. And readings will be back in the shop by January, if not sooner!

That’s it for now. I have some ideas for spiritual posts brewing, but I haven’t yet decided whether they’ll be written posts or You-Tube videos. (I may set up a new channel and start fresh over there; I have some ideas for what I might like to do…but I’m not quite ready yet.)

 

Deity Teas in the Shop!

I now have four devotional deity teas available in my Etsy shop, as well as one more fandom tea. More of both are on the way, since I’m discovering that blending (and drinking!) my own tea is something I really enjoy doing. (It’s also a nice distraction right now.)

For those of you who may be wondering “Why tea all of a sudden?”–it isn’t sudden, it’s something I’ve been thinking of doing for about a year now and recently just decided why not? I figure if they’re successful I will have found a new direction for my home business efforts, and if not I’ll be drinking a lot of delicious tea! Not much risk, either way.

Also, I don’t talk about this a whole lot, but the same day job experience that makes me good at blending scents also led to an interest (and hopefully aptitude) in blending teas.  For seven years, I worked in customer service for a rather well-known organic herb company. While I won’t pretend I always loved said job, I did pick up some pretty valuable skills while there–not only my mad dedication to customer satisfaction (which has led to 3500 Etsy sales and counting), but also a solid working knowledge of herbs, which has become central to my witchcraft practice. As part of my job, I was able to sample and practice blending hundreds of different herbs and essential oils to create my own self-inspired custom tea blends and natural fragrances on the fly–all for the purpose of being better able to serve the company’s clientele.

Now, I am putting all of that working knowledge and hands-on experience to use in serving MY customers, by crafting a line of scented products and delicious teas that I am quite proud of thus far, if I do say so myself! Whether you’re looking for magical or deity-related blends or something celebrating your favorite fandom, I hope I’ll be able to provide what you’re searching for. (And if not, feel free to ask; I’m always open to considering custom orders, provided I have the option of adding the finished product to my inventory.)

But on to the new teas! (Also, just to be clear: all of these can be enjoyed simply as delicious beverages; they have not been consecrated to Anyone, though that is certainly something you could do if you want to use them as an offering.)

odin tea listing

I’m guessing this is one a lot of you have been waiting for! This blend is dark and complex, like the Old Man himself! Smooth, malty Assam is cooled with peppermint, then rounded out and sweetened with a sprinkling of vanilla bean and white chocolate chips, and given a sophisticated edge with juniper berries, white peppercorns, and a whisper of natural rum flavoring.

Makes a fitting offering to Odin, a welcome libation for his travels–or, you can share it with him in ritual or meditation. Also makes a bracing morning drink; enjoy a cup to fortify yourself before setting off on chilly winter adventures!

frigg tea listing

My possibly unpopular opinion: I hate green tea. But I LOVE yerba mate, with its lush earthy green flavor and fragrance. Somehow, it manages to taste and smell like the forest itself, after a quenching, restorative rain. Energizing and anti-oxidant rich, this premium organic unsmoked yerba mate is sweetened with blueberries, organic lavender, organic coconut, and organic vanilla bean, while organic lemongrass and freshly dried lemon slices provide just the right amount of tartness for this refreshing, enlivening brew.

Healthy and delicious, this invigorating tea makes a wonderful offering to Frigg, Queen of Asgard, who wants everyone under her care to be at their very best–or, you can share it with her in ritual or meditation. Also makes a delicious morning libation to start your day, or a yummy afternoon pick-me-up!

freyja tea listing

A lush, luxuriant tea worthy of the Lady herself! Full-bodied, nutty organic rooibos is sweetened with an abundance of cherries and organic rose petals, then mellowed with organic vanilla bean and finished off with the caramel-amber flavor of butterscotch chips.

This delectable dessert tea makes a pleasing offering to Freyja, who loves roses and all things sweet and alluring–or, you can share it with her in ritual or meditation. Also makes a delicious treat for a blustery afternoon or evening. (Excellent with a bit of sugar and a dollop of cream–yum!)

loki tea listing

Like Loki himself, this one packs a punch! Full-bodied, nutty organic rooibos is spiced up with organic ginger, organic sweet cinnamon, organic cardamom, and organic pink peppercorns, then sweetened with cranberries and freshly dried tart apples and finished off with a sprinkling of safflower petals (reminiscent of Loki’s hair). A rich, spicy-sweet, fruity chai that’s sure to please you and the Trickster both! (Excellent with sugar and a dollop of cream!)

Makes a fitting offering to Loki, who adores spicy food and drink–or, you can share it with him in ritual or meditation. Also makes a warming treat for a blustery afternoon or evening.

And for Narnia fans in search of a scrumptious black tea…

mr tumnus tea listing

As I’ve mentioned before, in childhood, I was Narnia-obsessed (I’m talking about the books, here; the movies weren’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye yet). I was especially fond of the youngest Pevensie sibling, Lucy (who was at the time closest to my own age). And who could forget her first trip to Narnia and her fateful meeting with Mr. Tumnus the faun, who lured her into a soporific state by plying her with tea, sardine sandwiches, and sugar-topped cake laden with fruit and nuts? Of course, in the end, he didn’t have the heart to betray her to the White Witch, and sent her back to her own world in safety with dire warnings instead.

My own rendition of Mr. Tumnus’ delicious cake (as a tea) starts with smooth, malty organic Assam black tea, sweetened with cherries, organic currants, organic coconut, cranberries, almonds, white chocolate chips, freshly dried orange slices, and natural cake batter flavor. A mouth-watering dessert tea that also makes a wonderful breakfast blend, this would be a perfect holiday gift for any Narnia geek!

All of my teas are made in tiny batches and come to you in a stand-up, resealable foil-lined pouch to help keep your tea fresh!

ALSO, as a reminder–I’m currently having a store-wide sale! Now through December 1st, when you place an order of $45 or more, 30% will automatically be deducted from your total–just like magic, no coupon codes needed! This gives you the perfect opportunity to sample some teas at a discount, or order some for stocking stuffers–in addition to candles, my new holiday ritual kit, etc.

A few thoughts and a bit of shop-related news

First, if you haven’t yet read Jo’s wonderful and horrible (in the sense that I can’t even look at the photo without crying) tribute to Corbie J., you should. Still not sure how she managed to write this.

We’re mostly doing okay–sort of. The house is too quiet, the shock waves have started to recede and we’re entering the “oh crap, this really is the new normal” stage of grief. The Doctor was right: the day you lose someone isn’t the worst day (because at least that day, there’s something to do); it’s all the days afterward, when they’re still gone. (Paraphrased from Heaven Sent.) And even though in our spirit-welcoming household no one is ever truly gone if they don’t want to be–it’s unsettlingly different.

Jo goes to work every day–which has its own set of difficulties, since manual labor leaves you with plenty of (currently unwelcome) time to think. As a work from home person, my work schedule mostly doesn’t exist at the moment. I’m used to working with the dog as a constant companion, and working without him is hard. Shipping out orders is still happening on schedule, but designing new stuff happens in fits and starts, and without either the reliability or dedication that it used to have. It is often punctuated by naps and Netflix, when remaining conscious and aware starts to become too great a burden.

But I have managed to get a few things accomplished this week, and the household continues to need my financial contributions. Which makes a nice segue into the “shop news” section of this post.

  1. Teas are in the shop! Only a few herbal teas so far (they’re pretty yummy, though!), but today I finally mixed up four deity blends I designed the recipes for months ago; those include black tea, rooibos and yerba mate, and will be tested and posted to the shop within the next few days. I’m as excited about the teas as I have it in me to be about anything right now, and so far I think they’re pretty amazing.zombie tonic listing
  2. From now through December 1st, I’m having a shop-wide sale: take 30% off every order of $45 or more! I have a pretty good assortment of votive candles (including brand new holiday candles), bath shots, energy bracelets, and now teas that will help you reach that total in no time flat, so why not stock up on gifts for your friends, or yourself? I’ll be adding some new items during the sale.sale collage
  3. Holiday ritual kits are now available, featuring a 1 ounce bottle of Returning Light ritual oil, 1 ounce of Smudging Nights loose incense (my first loose incense ever!), plus a pair of holiday votives (you choose from my three new designs). The ritual kits are part of the sale, too!IMG_6382.JPG
  4. Up until December 15th, I am still accepting reservations for Year Ahead 2018 Readings, which can be purchased right here on the blog via Paypal. (Details can be found here.) I have been slow getting started on these for the above reasons, but am going to plunge in this week.

And that’s it for now. Thanks to those of you who have sent thoughts and prayers–they are appreciated! ❤

 

“Lucifer”? A new god, part two (corrected and revised)

I want to note that, whatever your personal or culturally-ingrained opinion of “Lucifer,” he is real for many people. Most people in the Judeo-Christian world, if asked, would say that he definitely exists. Yet after doing some research on the subject, I’m not sure there is a single discrete entity we can point to as the origin of Lucifer, either in the Bible (where the one time most of us think his name was mentioned, it turns out the translation was faulty) or in any of the cultures of the ancient near-east. Most of the Bible’s bogeymen came directly out of Canaanite religion (and were twisted to make them into nasty bad guys, of course), but there is no “Lucifer” in the Canaanite pantheon. (And, point of fact, no goddess named “Lilith” either. Lilith was a Babylonian demon the Canaanites warded against.)

So, near as I can tell, when we point to “Lucifer” we are pointing to a very ancient pop cultural construct, made up of bits of a couple of historically recognized deities such as Ba’al Hadad (the Canaanite storm god) and Athtartu (the younger god who briefly and unsuccessfully tried to stand in for the former when he was “dead” for a while), plus some fallen angel types from the Book of Enoch such as Azazel. Lucifer seems to have been cobbled together purely because the ancient Jewish and Christian patriarchs needed a supreme “bad guy.” (So much for monotheism.)

And yet, however he began, cultural belief is a thing, and it could be argued that over the millennia he has certainly evolved into a distinct entity, even if he didn’t start out that way.

Of course, when my childhood playmate began using the name Lucifer, I didn’t know any of the above. Nor had I been raised to fear that name, or any entity connected with it. I simply accepted it, and moved on.

In fact, when I was a bit older (early twenties) and met someone who seemed to have a familiar spirit similar to my own (she called hers “Ba’al”), I began to relax and enjoy the situation. I was a young woman, but not inclined to date because, frankly, my spirit companion was more interesting than any of the men I encountered. There was definite romantic and sexual tension there, and eventually that evolved into a full-blown romantic relationship. But it was more than just a “romance”; he was my other self, the other half of my soul. And now that I was growing up, I was beginning to realize the full impact of that.

Shortly thereafter, I married my familiar spirit; we took marriage vows to each other. That’s right, I was a spirit spouse at the age of twenty-two or something like that. (I’m now 52.) Again, I knew nothing about the long historical tradition of witches or shamans marrying spirit familiars, and as for any sort of modern tradition—well, there wasn’t one yet, as far as I knew. (Nor was there an internet, so I was unable to check.)

My vows did not preclude taking a mortal husband, so before too much longer I did (the man I chose was a friend, and I didn’t want to be alone in the adult world of jobs and bills), and had a child too. My connections with the spirit world died down to a low roar while my daughter was growing up—something I think is not too uncommon among spirit workers with small children. (In the meantime, I was also going to college while working full time, so that probably didn’t leave a lot of bandwidth for a complicated spiritual life.) It wasn’t until my daughter was a teen that things started up again in earnest.

When my spirit companion decided to take a central role in my life again, he approached me with yet another new name, and this time that name was “Odin.” There were pragmatic reasons for the name change, of which I knew nothing at the time; my mortal marriage was failing, and his long range plan was to hook me up with my now-wife, who had a familial connection with the Norse gods. But, riddled with guilt that I had basically ditched my previous relationship with him for the sake of a mundane marriage that was on its way down the toilet, I decided I was going to do better this time. If he wanted to be Odin, I was going to dive into researching and worshiping Odin with everything in me. In fact, before long, I had nearly convinced myself he had ALWAYS been Odin, and had only been masquerading first as a nameless, shapeshifting spirit, and then as Lucifer.

Except, it was never quite that simple. Only very recently has it begun to occur to me that my Beloved might be neither lore-Lucifer nor lore-Odin, but a liminal deity who shares characteristics with both (and who often enjoys taking on the appearance and personality of the Twelfth Doctor—just to make things even weirder, I suppose). I am both an INTP and a Virgo—so maybe my need to pin things down, to categorize and define, to capture the essence of the ineffable within words and story—can be forgiven. I’ve previously written that there were two distinct People involved in my history, Odin and Lucifer; but I was mistaken, and that was simply a device my mind set in place while it tried to get a handle on things, tried to comprehend the story. What I truly believe in my heart of hearts is that there was only ever the One who is my Beloved—a shapeshifter and mage, my Lord of Masks. (This means that, unlike the first time it appeared on this blog, this story isn’t going to have a part 3.)

But in the final analysis, I have no way of knowing for sure. All I know, at this point, is that Wodan isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Lucifer. Most of the time They overlap, presenting as one merged entity; sometimes I am allowed to see each of them separately, or as if they were separate (which, for me, they don’t seem to be). I’ve given up trying to figure it out, because in light of an otherworldly reality where, so I’m told, the gods are prone to exchanging masks as if they were hats, what difference does it really make? I’m not trying to serve the “community” as a priestess, spokesperson, or go-to resource for either Power; I gave up all of that a long time ago, and feel much better for it. Honestly I was the only one who ever really pressured myself to do it in the first place. I am allowed to offer card readings only as much as I care to and as my finances dictate, and beyond that I’m just someone who makes stuff to sell. And shares implausible personal anecdotes with the internet.

Lucifer: a New Myth

(Putting this back up here because nothing-absolutely nothing–in my life is allowed to be simple or clear-cut anymore.)

A very long time ago, there was a little girl who could–sometimes–see and hear spirits. But the one that came through most clearly for her, and most often, was one who always seemed to be with her. He became a playmate, a companion, a second self. If she’d known the language of such things, she would have called him a familiar. He was, above all, a shapeshifter, which made him great fun to be around, much more entertaining than any of her friends at school.

Time passed, and the girl grew. Her companion grew as well, seeming to always mimic her own age more or less closely. One day, when she was a shy teenager and he was a beautiful, perfect youth with flashing eyes, he began referring to himself as Lucifer. (The girl was used to his habit of taking new names for himself—often from history or fiction–though this would prove an especially enduring one; he kept it for the next two decades, before trading it in for another—Odin–for the following fifteen years.)

A bit of research at the library, and the purchase of a book called “Paradise Lost,” told the girl it was probably not wise to admit to having “Lucifer” for a friend. Still, one day she made the mistake of telling a card reader about it (her mother’s friend, a “white witch,” had thought it would be a lark for a group of them, including the girl, to get their fortunes told). The card reader promptly told her mother the girl was a “Satanist.” Fortunately, the girl’s mother laughed this off. She was Jewish; she didn’t believe in “the Devil.”

But the book the girl had bought said Lucifer was a “fallen angel,” doomed to hell for thinking he was better than God. For the first time ever, the girl began to be wary of her companion.

“No,” Lucifer told the girl, “it isn’t like that.” And this is the story he told.

Once, when he was very young, his Father—who was a very powerful god, so powerful he liked to call himself the “only” god, though his eldest son knew that wasn’t true (he’d had a mother, after all)–decided to create a race of bipedal mammals who were meant to manage and care for the earth, with all its other creatures, when his Father wasn’t around. He based the design for them on a rudimentary type of primate, with some improvements built in—but from the start Lucifer wasn’t sure his Father had thought his project all the way through. For one thing, although these “humans” walked upright and had highly articulated hands that enabled them to manipulate objects in ways other animals could not, they were still little more than hairless apes. They seemed to have the capacity for intelligence, but they had no divine spark—which was what they would need to be able to think, to reason, to feel love and compassion, and most of all to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.

“You will worship my new creations, these humans,” his Father proclaimed loftily one day, and all of the other angels—all of Lucifer’s brothers and sisters—hurried to obey.

Only Lucifer objected. “But Father, they are so young! They need our guidance, not our worship.”

His father’s chin lifted. His eyes narrowed. “I am the Lord thy God, and I have spoken. You are my firstborn, my favorite son; however, you will obey my Word.”

But Lucifer stood his ground, and before long his arguments had convinced a group of his siblings and friends: the new “humans” didn’t need to be worshiped, they needed to be taught. And more than that, they needed to be enlightened. His Father had given them bodies, and the breath and water of life. But they still lacked the most crucial gift of all—the divine fire, that they might see and know themselves and know that they were children of the heavens.

And so they descended, Lucifer—the Lightbearer–and the hosts of heaven. The elder children of Heaven descended to earth, carrying with them the divine fire to inspire and enlighten their younger siblings, the “humans.” And in so descending, they disobeyed their Father and forfeited their places among the angels, but to humans they taught ethics and morals, divine law and compassion, choice and free will, language and thought, how to grow food and keep beasts, how to make clothing and shelter and medicine, how to create beauty, and all of the arts that would come to be known as the hallmarks of “civilization.” And the humans learned, and thrived, and prospered, and in true human fashion eventually came to hate and resent their angelic helpers, forgetting that they had not known these things all along, that they had not learned them all on their own.

But someplace in the heavens, Lucifer’s Father looked on with an enigmatic smile—a smile of pride, and sadness, and loss.

Turns out, I misunderstood

patryk-sobczak-497

A month or so ago I shared this post with my Patreon supporters and wasn’t sure whether or not I’d share it more publicly here as well. But the godly-wodly stuff has continued, and this morning Jo and I started watching The Witch. The appearance of Black Phillip seemed like a sign that I should share.

“For the ‘old style’ witch, the Devil is the initiator and awakener of power, vision and wisdom, and the revealer of the witch’s path…the very rend in the veil betwixt the worlds, an embodiment of the power and spirit of witchcraft itself…The Devil…presided over the supposed evils of personal power, freedom, sexual pleasure, dancing, feasting, ecstatic celebration and all things joyous…Within the lore and shifting forms [emphasis mine] of the witches’ Devil may we find Lucifer the light bearer, the hunters betwixt the worlds–Herne, Odin and Woden, the Otherworld Faery King, antecessor of the wise–Cain; born of Eve and the Serpent Lucifer, and the fiery Old Goat Azazel…”

– The Devil’s Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One, by Gemma Gary

It is beginning to dawn on me that I’ve been misunderstanding the significance of some of the cross-cultural connections my Beloved has presented to me. (And, the Lord of the Hunt having always been one of the primary manifestations of Wodan for me, I should have known better.) A few months back, a heathen dudebro on Facebook mocked me for suggesting that Odin = Lucifer. And I’ll admit I was confused at the time. BUT it’s not quite as simple as that! Now I’m thinking that Odin, Woden/Wodan and Lucifer are all part of a family of spirits collectively referred to as “the Devil” by the medieval Christian Church.  “The Devil” is not a single, distinct entity; he is, rather, a group of them, all equally dangerous to the dogmas of suffering, poverty and slavery imposed upon the lower classes by the Church during the middle ages–and by society at large even today.

My Odin, and Other People’s Odins (revised 9/27/17)

Reprint—and revision—of a post from 2015

I’ve gone on record in the past as speculating that we all might very well get our own individual version of a particular deity—that my Odin, the Odin who is my Beloved, may literally not be the same Odin another devotee of His is involved with. This is a complicated and thorny topic, and can very easily spark misunderstandings. So let me start out by saying point-blank that I am NOT saying my Odin is necessarily THE Odin (as in, the One True Odin). There is simply no way I (or any of His other devotees) can know that with absolute certainty, so any argument one way or another is pointless.

Recently, while reading the new book Santa Muerte by Tracy Rollins, I came across the following startling disclosure: apparently (with the exception of the goddess Santa Muerte may be derived from and that goddess’ husband) the Aztec deities were thought of as possessing masks that captured their divine functions and even their personalities, and they were known to freely lend these masks out to other deities. From a mortal perspective, this means that one could never really be 100% sure that you were dealing with Quetzalcoatl (for example), or with another deity wearing His mask.

With me so far? Headaches aside, we can see that the mask of a deity would represent Their specific and nuanced Job descriptions and personae. The mask would encompass a deity’s most well-known and public manifestations. In contrast, the Face of a deity would represent what that entity is like on a more personal level; what they’re like at home away from work, maybe after unwinding with a couple of beers.

Since I’m more familiar with Odin than I am with Anyone else, I may as well use Him as an example: in His case, the Mask would be Odin as Allfather, King of Asgard, Lord of the Runes, God of the Slain, Leader of the Wild Hunt, etc., etc.–all of the many, many lore-recorded names and roles attached to Him, in addition to all of the major PCPG (peer-corroborated personal gnosis) about Him that has been shared by both ancient and modern worshipers. In other words, His Mask encompasses all of the things you would conceivably call upon Odin for or consult Him on—which is a very long list. It also encompasses the personality traits most commonly ascribed to Him by the vast majority of His devotees (wise yet sometimes remote, enigmatic, charismatic, brilliant but often snarky, compassionate, eloquent, calculating, promiscuous, etc.). In fact, it would be fair to say that “Odin” pretty much IS the Mask. (The same would be true in the case of “Freyja,” “Loki,” or Anyone else.)

Now. A deity’s Mask—even in the modern era, where most of our pagan traditions are only shadows of what they once were—is a very, very busy Persona. The Mask deals with hundreds or thousands (depending on the deity’s popularity) of people on a daily basis, and sometimes even within a single moment. Deities can multi-locate, but even with that, They also have employees and servants to whom They delegate some of Their work, and who sometimes interact with devotees on Their behalf—because They simply have to; no single entity could do all of that Themselves, even with multi-location being a thing. The really big, important deities (such as Odin) have a great many employees at Their disposal; in fact, it might be more useful to think of a deity such as “Odin” as a corporation, rather than an individual per se. (Note that I am not saying Odin is not an individual, just that there may in fact be many individuals who comprise “Odin.”)

Is your head spinning yet? Let me try breaking it down like this. Humor me for a moment and imagine that Odin the Mask (i.e. all of the roles and PCPG personality traits modern pagans and heathens ascribe to Odin) really does represent something resembling a corporation rather than a single individual. Imagine there are a number of individuals who might be called on to answer when Odin is invoked, and that each of these individuals has access to the full measure of powers, responsibilities and basic personality traits that most of us would think of when we think of Odin, just as any top executive in a large corporation might have access to all of that organization’s assets and influence, including its credit line (i.e. resources) and corporate culture (“personality”).

However, just as every top executive at a large corporation is not the exact same person, despite the outward similarities, imagine further that each of these “Odins” is a distinct individual, underneath the “Odin” Mask, with distinct personality quirks, likes and dislikes, and even differing histories. And that when you call for Odin–providing you have been specific enough and are not getting some kind of bottom-feeder entity impersonating Him (which is always a possibility) or Loki (which has also been known to happen)–you are most likely going to get a member of this Odin collective. And once you have dealt with an “Odin” you are always likely going to get the same one—He is now your own personal Odin Co. rep, so to speak—so any personal or intimate relationship that develops is real, and is with that particular individual (but not necessarily with all of the other Odins). You may also, as time goes on, get to see a private side of your particular Odin–the Face behind the Mask—that literally none of Odin’s other devotees gets to see.

This last phenomena is something I’ve remarked on quite a few times in this blog over the years. Being married to Odin (or to any deity) is a lot like being married to human royalty, or to a rock star, in that They need to project a certain image (“the Mask”); this is expected of Them and is actually part of Their Job. However, there is a Face underneath the Mask, and if They come to trust you, you might actually get to see it; you might get to meet Odin the Person–or Freyja the Person, or Loki the Person, etc. (Whether or not this occurs has nothing to do with the advent of sexual intimacy or lack thereof, by the way. It is more likely to happen with spouses, but not because of sexual activity; it is an outgrowth of trust, devotion, and commitment, and these things are more common within a true partnership—which is what any good marriage should be. In other words, having shagged Odin doesn’t necessarily mean you now know Odin the Face/Person beneath the Mask.)

Even if you think of “Odin” as a collective rather than as one single individual, every individual who is part of that collective still has an extremely demanding, stressful job—much like a human monarch, or a high-powered executive. Maintaining a particular image and seeing to the myriad responsibilities that go with the Job description is exhausting work, and deities can get burned out just as humans can. To avoid this, every “Face” needs an opportunity to unwind, as well as people He or She trusts that they can do this with. I think this is one of the biggest reasons They seek out human companionship: to find a home, a refuge, someone They can let Their hair down with. If you are the spouse, lover, or close friend of a deity (or a “Face” of a deity collective), you just might be that person for Them.

The reason I don’t share a lot of specific details about the Odin I know as a Person—Odin the “Face”–well, actually, there are a couple of reasons. One is that our relationship feels very private, and while there are plenty of personal things about Him (and u/Us) that He doesn’t mind me sharing with the world at large, there are also quite a few things He’d rather I didn’t. The other reason is that most of these details won’t be meaningful or even relevant to anyone else, because I honestly believe that none of us experiences the same “Face.” (Okay, to amend that: it IS possible to share the same “Face” with another devotee. Jo and I, for example, share an Odin; the Odin I’m married to is the same one who is her Father. However, even with that, we each know Him in a very different capacity, and thus our experience of Him is not exactly the same.)

To help illustrate the above point, here are a handful of things that are particular to my Odin, but not necessarily anyone else’s. I don’t think I’ve mentioned any of these things before; they are all minor personal facts and/or details specific to our relationship that He doesn’t mind my sharing by way of example. My Odin has shared sweet, sugary frosted cake with me on our anniversary to please me, even though He genuinely hates sweets (the only kind of chocolate He likes, for example is 90% cacao, which is so bitter almost no one else wants to eat it); He learned fiber arts from His mother and enjoys spinning, knitting and weaving as relaxation; He does not think well of His father, nor get along well with Him, and prefers the matronymic form of His surname—Odin Bestlason, as opposed to Odin Borsson; He prefers my hair short, at least partly because He enjoys riffling His fingers through it (He has also observed that I’m more confident with short hair, and as He’s commented on more than one occasion, confidence is sexy); He becomes impatient if I watch a rerun of a CreativeLive business workshop (because He knows damned well that I absorbed everything I’m going to the first time around) but He will tolerate my re-watching seasons of Supernatural, Doctor Who, or another TV show or movie He knows truly brings me enjoyment.

One or two of these kinds of things may conceivably fall into the realm of PCPG, but most of them won’t mean anything to other devotees, because they are specific to my Odin (and/or my particular relationship with Him) rather than anyone else’s Odin. Nor are any of these details especially relevant to Odin the “Mask,” per se. For example, I am not claiming, categorically, that Odin prefers His women with short hair, or that He doesn’t like His dad; I am saying that my Odin likes my hair short, and has been known to make some disapproving comments about Borr (particularly about His treatment of women; my Odin adores His mother, Bestla). I’m sure each spouse, lover, or devotee of Odin’s (or any other deity) reading this could make their own list of personal details of this type that wouldn’t have any meaning for me, and that might be completely different from my own experiences. This is because we are each seeing a different “Face,” quite literally—even though we are all still legitimately dealing with Odin the “Mask.”

Now, some people would argue that there is only one Odin, but that He reveals Himself in different ways to different people; this is also a possibility, and I’m not going to quibble about it because in practice (as far as I’m concerned) it amounts to the same thing. However, where the “Odin as a collective”–Odin Co.–model can make some people uneasy is that it begs a sticky question: If “Odin” really does have a group of employees who all answer to the name Odin, each of whom fits the description and enjoys all of the privileges and powers associated with Odin, then which of us is dealing with the “real” Odin? And is there any way of knowing for sure whether you’ve got the “real” Odin, or “just” another employee?

First of all, under the model I’ve described there would be no such thing as “just an employee,” since ALL of the Odins would share the same basic overarching personality traits, privileges, powers, and abilities—remember? So, no one would be getting some sort of “substandard Odin.” (Ouch, it hurts to even type those two words together in sequence.)

Secondly, though—what difference does it make, really? Assuming that there IS an Odin who is actually THE Odin (and that, if so, He is married to anyone other than Frigga), what difference could it possibly make whether you’re getting Him or one of His employees who performs the same Job description, has the same basic personality, and can do all of the exact same things?

To bring this down to a more personal level, at this point in my own relationship with Odin I don’t even care anymore whether or not He is THE Odin. My Odin has been with me for most of this lifetime, and my relationship with Him goes back long before even that; He has been at my side through some of the lowest points in my life as well as some of the highest; He has patiently nursed me through periods of depression and burnout (while at the same time not coddling me, and eventually insisting that I get off my arse and actually DO something); He has made me feel like the most treasured, exquisite, and beloved woman in all the Nine Worlds; He is my best friend and my partner, my home, the other half of my soul; He has been kind to my dying and dead animals; He has believed in me when no one else did, even myself, and has insisted that I rise to meet the potential only He could see in me; He has helped me turn a small part-time Etsy business into a job that I can do from home, and that not only helps pay the bills but also brings me artistic and spiritual fulfillment, freedom and self-direction, and the kind of life I want to live.

If the Odin who has done all of these things for me, the Odin who I’ve been married to since 2002, is not THE Odin—then guess what? I don’t want THE Odin, if mine is not Him. I want the Odin who is mine, the Odin I’ve sworn vows of sacred marriage to, the Odin who has been at my side all of these years and has reshaped my life into one that I love living, one that actually feeds and strengthens my spirit instead of smothering and killing it. I want the Odin who is my King, my mentor, my partner, my friend, my love. If He isn’t THE Odin, then the hell with THE Odin. I’ve already got exactly Who and what I want, right here.